How to put up a shelf

Shelving is both practical and decorative. Whatever your reason, you must ensure it is up safely and securely, with no damage to your walls.

This involves checking your wall for any issues or anywhere you shouldn't drill and ensuring the brackets are in line and will keep your shelving straight.

Always wear PPE when drilling and doing DIY. For this task, you will require a dust mask and eye protection.


You will need:

You will need a hammer drill with a masonry bit on any masonry walls. Choose rawl plugs and screws at least 50mm long to go through the wall.

For stud walls, your screws will need to go through the timber noggins or studs.

A pipe, cable and stud detector will alert you to where these are and any wires or pipes to avoid in masonry walls.




Step by step: How to put up fixed shelving

Step 1: Locate pipes & cables

Run the locator over the area you'd like your shelf and use your pencil to mark any areas you need to avoid or where the timber studs are.

Once done, reassess placement before positioning the shelf and lightly pencilling where the bottom will be.


Step 2: Position the brackets

Work out where the brackets must go to position the shelf correctly. Follow the instructions on your shelving kit; you may have two brackets on either side, two underneath, or additional brackets to place evenly apart. Use your tape measure here.

When in position, check with a spirit level that they're both even. You don't want a wonky shelf. It would be beneficial to have help here. Once you're happy, mark the holes where you will be drilling, using the bracket fixing holes as a marker.


Step 3: Drill the holes

Your shelving unit will likely advise you on the hole size needed to support the maximum weight of the shelf. Use a suitable drill bit to drill the hole. Insert a rawl plug into the hole if you have a masonry wall. Tap in with a hammer if this needs to be tighter.


Step 4: Screw the brackets on

Once the holes are drilled, screw the brackets in place. Lay the shelf over the brackets and pencil the screw holes underneath.

Take the shelf down and drill small pilot holes into the shelf. These will be very short screws, so be careful not to drill too far. The screws should usually come with your shelving kit to use as a guide. Otherwise, measure the thickness of the shelf and use a screw around half the length.

Replace the shelf, then use a screwdriver to fix the screw.



How do I fit a floating shelf?

This will be a similar method, except you will have a singular bracket to fix to the wall. Follow the steps above, including checking the wall for cables and pipes.

Position the bracket, checking it is straight with a spirit level. Mark the holes with a pencil, then drill the holes and insert rawl plugs if needed.

Two bars attached to the bracket will support the shelf. You may need to then screw the underside of the shelf to your bracket, depending on your shelf kit.

Floating shelves aren't as strong as ordinary shelving, so they are best suited to decorative additions. You will also need to choose a perfectly flat wall, which can be checked with a spirit level.


How do I install corner shelves?

Corner shelves are a great way to maximise wall space. Again, you will follow most of the steps above, checking your wall for pipes and cables.

Position the two brackets in the corner, checking with a spirit level that they're even. Mark the holes with a pencil, then drill.

Most corner shelves will sit on the brackets, but you may need to drill into the bottom.




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